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Studying the geothermal energy in Brazil – interview with Hélène Hofmann

PiensaGeotermia interviewed HélèneHofmann about the work they are doing in developing low enthalpy geothermal energy in Brazil. We usually do not hear news regarding the use of geothermal energy in Brazil and we are glad that progress is being made in its development.

Hélène Hofmann and her work at the company I Care & Consult

I am a French engineer whose main ambition is to participate in our energy transition towards a low energy impact society. After several years working in the surface geothermal sector (shallow geothermal) in France, I decided two years ago to move to Brazil, in order to promote environmentally friendly energy solutions, such as geothermal energy.

This is how I joined the team at I Care & Consult, a French consulting and innovation firm that supports private companies, financial institutions and public organizations to design their environmental strategy. As part of its development in Brazil, I Care & Consult decided to support my project by offering to lead a strategic study on the potential of surface geothermal energy in Brazil.

About the geothermal study in Brazil

The study, which started in April 2019 and led by I Care & Consult, also included the participation of researchers from the Polytechnic School of São Paulo and the Groundwater Research Center of the University of São Paulo , and also from the Geothermal Laboratory of the National Observatory of Brazil. They will support us in evaluating the geothermal resources of the South and Southeast regions of Brazil and in analyzing their compatibility with the thermal needs of buildings with less energy impact.

We divided the study into three phases

Geological context and thermal conductivity in the southern region of Brazil
Main opportunities for Brazil

We calculate that by converting only 1% of heating and air conditioning systems with geothermal solutions in the industrial and building sectors, it will save around 163 ktoe of energy annually, 552 thousand tons of CO2 equivalent, in  addition to 1.3 million cubic meters of water, considering 2018 as a reference in terms of energy consumption and not even counting the significant demand for cooling in the industry and the demand for hot water in buildings.
The technology is specially adapted to the food and beverage industrythanks to the typology of its thermal demand, that is, the need for heating and cooling in a compatible temperature range. In the building sector, technology is particularly interesting for commercial buildings, shopping malls or hotels, allowing annual savings in operating costs for air conditioning that reach 60% in some regions, such as in the city of Sao Paulo.

Average Reduction of Operation Costs with geothermal air conditioning (Simulation Results)
Ongoing projects

There is a pilot project underway at the University of Sao Paulo to meet the heating and cooling needs of the new Center for Innovation in Sustainable Construction (CICS-USP). The implementation of a geothermal plant in a Coca-Cola factory in the state of Rio de Janeiro is also being evaluated to meet its cooling needs.

Photograph taken during the execution of a thermal response test to determine the thermal properties of the subsoil at the Coca-Cola Andean Factory


More information about the study is in the following video

I Care & Consult in Latin America

As part of our study, we have identified few countries in Latin America where technology is present. Chile is the only country with a mature geothermal market, while the technology has recently started its development in Mexico and Argentina. It would be interesting to conduct similar studies in these countries to accelerate their development, as well as in other countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay or Colombia where there seems to be great potential.

Contact Hélène Hofmann: /

Source: interview with Helen Hofmann through our Spanish language platform PiensaGeotermia

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